The number of people receiving jobless benefits and benefit payouts fell in 2011 from 2010, but plenty of Washington workers still are struggling in the state’s slow-growth economy, according to new data released by the state Employment Security Department.
Here are the numbers:
• About 440,000 people received jobless benefits this year, down 12 percent from the all-time record of 503,000 in 2010.
• Benefit payouts fell to $3.2 billion this year, down from $4.6 billion in 2010.
• Average length of time to collect jobless benefits fell to 36.2 weeks this year from 42.2 weeks in 2010.
• About 70,000 workers this month will have exhausted all of their unemployment benefits, the most ever during a period when extended benefits were in effect.
• Only 25 percent of Washington workers who had exhausted their benefits last spring had found new jobs. About 80 percent of them were earning an average of 29 percent less than before they lost their job.
• About 3,100 Washington employers enrolled in the state’s layoff-avoidance program, known as Shared Work, avoided layoffs by enrolling 36,000 workers this year.
• Employment Security’s budget is dropping by 16 percent in the July 2011 to June 2013 budget period. By the end of next month, the department will have cut more than 500 positions, with more layoffs to come next summer.
Rolf Boone, staff writer